Now the 2016-17 NBA season has started, you can keep up to date and play out the season ‘live’ by playing each of the games that day in a season mode (previously available on the ‘Play Now’ option).
The number one draft pick, “our” Ben Simmons, suffered a foot injury that’ll keep him off the court for three months (if not the entire year).
Steph Curry, last season’s MVP, was taken down a peg by the drafting of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. (Curry, despite his pivotal role in helping the Warriors break the record for most wins in a season, now holds the fourth highest salary on the Warriors. Stings a bit.)
And LeBron James, who delivered the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship over the favoured Warriors, became the league’s highest paid player, after signing a three-year contract for $US100m. (Tragically, this puts Space Jam 2 even further away.)
With the new season comes newer narratives to obsess over. Will the Warriors work as a collective, now that they’ve brought their major, non-Cleveland-based rival on board? Can they break – or equal – their past season’s record of 73 victories? Will they finally claim the championship many thought they deserved earlier this year? (And geez, these are only the uncertainties we have for Golden State.)
Trouble is, following along with an entire sporting season can be a slog. Eighty-two games a season, per team, not including the playoffs, amounts to one hell of a time-suck for the casual baller. Many will instead be creating their own narratives in NBA 2K17, the second-most pure form of basketball absorption. This writer will certainly be doing so.
The question is, which team is tops in the latest iteration of the video game?
Anyone looking to simply start playing – and skip the ‘My Career’ origin story – is immediately offered a choice between the Warriors and the Cavaliers. It’s a fair assumption. But what if you don’t want to simply go with the crowd? What if you’re seeking an idiosyncratic team to call your own? Maybe you just don’t want to be called a bandwagon-jumper by picking Steph or LeBron’s teams. Or maybe you want some additional justification to do so.
Whatever your motives, here are the superficial reasons for selecting your 2K team.
10. Golden State Warriors
The latest updates to the 2K series are minimal, besides the inclusion of 2016’s draftees and a new shooting style that is slightly more temperamental – unless you’re Steph Curry, who barely ever misses. Woe betide anyone who dares to play against the Warriors – your friends included. Remember: Nothing’s more frustrating than an opponent who only goes for three-pointers (and sinks them with impunity). Combine that with Draymond Green’s wandering leg and the generally frustrating presence of Durant and you’ll quickly become despised should you ever select the Warriors. Consider the wreckage to your personal life.
9. New York Knicks
Late last year, I was lucky enough to see the NY Knicks play the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Seeing them in 2015 was like watching Al Pacino share the screen with Robert De Niro in Righteous Kill. Right icons, wrong time. Still, the Knicks have the towering, essential Carmelo Anthony and up-and-coming legend-in-the-making Kristaps Porzingis. They also have Derrick Rose, which is hugely problematic. Hence: they are nine.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons may be benched for the foreseeable future, yet he’s totally playable right now in the world of 2K. Here, this bottom-ranked team’s fabled ‘process’ is paying off just fine, with their young and hungry roster eager to climb to the top of the Eastern Conference. Playing as the 76ers – and winning – is basically as close as you’ll get to the fantasy realms of RPGs. Anything can happen.
7. Miami Heat
The legendary Chris Bosh’s career is basically done – except in 2K. Give him one more crack at a ring.
6. Brooklyn Nets
LOL. JK. Justin Lin’s hair can’t make this a worthwhile choice. That’d be Linsanity indeed.
6 (For Real). Oklahoma City Thunder
This is where you take your vengeance against Durant and the Warriors. Russell Westbrook may not be able to pull it off in real life. Avenge him.
5. Chicago Bulls (’92-’93 Championship Team)
The domination of the Warriors is a deterrent in 2K17… however, if you really want to win without putting in much effort at all, it’s hard to go past peak Bulls. Unlike the field goal-loving Warriors, you can dunk up a storm with Michael Jordan himself. They may be meaner than Steph and company, but their brand of basketball is more fun to play (and watch).
4. Chicago Bulls (’97-’98 Championship Team)
Same as above, except this team has Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman (and is arguably even better). Before the Warriors came along, these players notched the record for most wins in an NBA season (in ’95-’96). If you’re so inclined, you can pull Steve Kerr off the bench and get him to chasten the current-day Warriors (who he now coaches). So that’s fun.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Ringer called the ‘Minnesota Timberpuppies’ the “next hipster team”; meaning, this is the gang to watch if you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of potential champions. They’ve got the awesomely named Andrew Wiggins on their roster, along with previous Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns and future Rookie of the Year Kris Dunn. Start practicing.
2. Australia’s ’16 Team
What, you’re not going to give the Boomers a run? Any other pick would be un-Australian.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Going with the trophy-holders may seem like the obvious choice, but how can you deny LeBron? If you need to justify it to yourself, consider this: Who knows how long we’ll be able to play as the towering legend? (This is his 14th season.) There’s nothing more fun in NBA 2K17 than running rings around cowering defenders as King James. That’s not even accounting for his teammates Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (of “Fade”!). Sure, Kevin Love handles a bit sluggishly; nonetheless, this is the team. LeBron does the laundry too.
Those are just some of the suggestions we have. Which team will you select? Feel free to play around to find the ones that suit you best. For more NBA 2K17 tips and tricks, keep it right here on U4NBA.